This is Bad. Capital Coverage Continues to Collapse.

I wasn’t going for the alliteration, but it just worked.  Unfortunately, media coverage of Sacramento is not working. Not because the reporters aren’t doing their jobs, but because the money just isn’t there.  In the open thread yesterday, we noted a couple of former California reporters moving into government/political jobs.

Well, we’ve lost another member of the press corps. This time it’s a direct blow to coverage of the capitol right now. From today’s CapAlert AM Alert:

Now, you can add the Mercury News’ Edwin Garcia to the list. His last day — after spending the last three and a half years in Sacramento — will be May 1.

I actually got to know Edwin Garcia a few years back when he did a story on some stuff I was doing on YouTube and around the tubes. He is a gifted writer and a generally fair reporter. I won’t say that I always agreed with his take, but it was always reasonable.

As much respect I have for this medium, blogs and such, this model is not one that can necessarily be plopped down to take up the slack for the loss of reporters. We have seen public interest journalism growing recently, and other states have good models for that. Take a look at Colorado Independent and Michigan Messenger for examples.  

In California, we have the California Progress Report.  Frank Russo built a source of news and opinion that was enormously valuable.  Since he left to be Asm. Nancy Skinner’s (D-Berkeley) Chief of Staff, the Consumer Federation’s Foundation has worked to build the site.  They are having a fundraiser for the site on April 20 in Sacramento.  I’m hoping to attend the event myself after coming back from Coachella.

Unfortunately, we have to help fund a future journalism structure in California. It is just to important to let coverage of the Capitol wither away and die.  We need more than just the SacBee Dans and the George Skeltons of the world to make Sacto transparent. We need real media. We need them poking around in the legislature and the administration. I’m optomistic that we will figure out some sustainable business model for journalism in the long-term. But we are going to go through a short-term period of news darkness.  

That’s why it is extremely important to support projects like the Progress Report and other news generating sites. Click here for a PDF flyer for the April 20 event.

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